All the tips from a top-level athlete for a good warm-up!

Emily Battendier, a member of the Quechua Nordic team, offers her tips to prepare your muscles for action before your Nordic skiing session.

Emily Battendier, top athlete in biathlon and Quechua technical partner for over two years, reveals all her tips for an effective warm-up before your Nordic skiing session!

1: How do you warm up your body properly in winter, even though the outside temperature is low?

As soon as the weather cools, our body and our muscles need to be warmed up thoroughly. The first step is to choose warm clothes which will help increase body heat.

Your technical equipment could be:

- 3 layers for the upper body: a breathable base layer, a fleece or jacket to add heat, and a jacket that protects you from the wind

- 2 layers for the legs: leggings and overtrousers

- Gloves, hat and good socks to cover your extremities, since over 50% of the heat produced during exercise escapes through these areas of the body.

2. What are the points to remember when warming up before a skating session?

There’s no real need for a specific warm-up before a skating session. For all types of Nordic skiing, I suggest you focus on leg exercises, which will play a big role.

Warm up gradually: during the first 15 minutes, you should let your body get moving without putting too much strain on the muscles to prevent injury (including muscle strain or tearing). If you practise this sport in the morning, you need to work on joint flexibility. Perform circular movements with the upper limbs, particularly the shoulders.

For conventional skiing, add in stretching of the adductor muscles, which are used a lot, and where aching often appears. Finally, remember to stretch your back muscles as the inclination of the upper body is more important than with a skating session.

3. How do you avoid getting "too" hot when warming up, at the risk of getting a chill subsequently?

You have to match the number of layers and the intensity of the warm-up. As suggested earlier, when you start your warm-up, the body needs 3 layers of clothing to keep warm.

During the warm-up, you can remove one or two layers to adjust to the temperature.

4. What types of stretching should be done at the end of a session to avoid aches and pains?

After a session, you have to let your muscles rest. Once you’ve calmed down and had a good shower, you can begin to stretch slowly, without forcing the muscles too much.

A stretching session should be relatively short and not hurt. We’re not looking for flexibility, but to relax the muscles and eliminate toxins. For example, spending 30 seconds on each muscle is sufficient.

The stretching over, it’s useful to lie on your back and lift your legs up against a wall. This exercise facilitates blood return, thus providing better recovery.

And last but not least: make sure you rehydrate yourself to eliminate all the toxins!

For my part, because of my numerous and regular workouts, I have a recovery drink after each session. When you force your muscles during physical activity, small lesions appear. This type of drink can speed recovery and replenish glucose stocks that repair my muscles.